The Top-50 Hitters Ever: Nos. 26-30
The following is the fifth part of an 11-part series chronicling the Top-50 hitters of all-time.
30. Mike Schmidt, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies (1972-1989)
Mike Schmidt comes in lower than some would expect on a list, but that is partly due to the era in which he played.
The 1970s and ‘80s saw historically low numbers for hitters, especially in the department of on-base percentage.
Although his numbers don’t compare to those of the all-time greats, Schmidt gets this high of a ranking due to the fact that he was the best hitter of his time period.
His career wOBA of .384 was very impressive for his time period, but it doesn’t stack up to the players ahead of him on the list.
However, Schmidt’s slugging, which helped him have 548 career home runs, and a career SLG of .527, .133 above the league average, helps him to have a high ranking on the list.
Schmidt’s best season, 1981, helped prove the high quality of a hitter he was in his prime. He had an OPS+ of 199, an OBP of .435, and a SLG of .644; his OBP and SLG were both career-highs.
29. Dick Allen, 3B/1B, Philadelphia Phillies/St. Louis Cardinals/Los Angeles Dodgers/Chicago White Sox/Oakland A’s (1963-1977)
Dick Allen joins Charlie Keller as non-Hall-of-Famers to make the list of the Top-50 hitters.
During his 15 MLB seasons, Allen was one of the most feared power hitters in a pitching-dominated time period. However, because of his unpopularity amongst many of his teammates, the fans, and the media, Allen is still not in the Hall of Fame
In fact, Willie Stargell, who ranks 49th on the list, said of Allen, after he hit a home run that went out of the entire ballpark, “Now I know why they boo Richie all the time. When he hits a home run, there's no souvenir.”
Allen was a dominating offensive force, with an OPS (.912) that was .205 higher than the league average during his time period. His .385 wOBA was bested by only three players in the time period in which he played (these players will remain nameless, in order not spoil any future stories).
Finally, Allen’s OPS+ comes out to a startling 156, which is 19th all-time—pretty good for someone that isn’t in the Hall of Fame.
28. Billy Hamilton, CF, Kansas City Beaneaters/Philadelphia Phillies/Boston Beaneaters (1888-1901)
The third-straight Philadelphia Phillies player on the list, Hamilton is also the first of only five players on the list to have an OBP at least .100 points above the league average for his career (his was exactly .100).
Hamilton also had a very impressive career wOBA of .406, despite hitting just 40 home runs in his career.
Hamilton’s career OPS+ was 141, while his career OPS of .887 was .148 above the league average during his career.
Hamilton’s greatest asset, of course, was getting on base. In fact, during his best season, 1894, he had an OBP of .523, the ninth highest in a single-season.
27. Mark McGwire, 1B, Oakland A’s/St. Louis Cardinals (1986-2001)
Mark McGwire is a controversial pick, but PEDs or not, he was still one of the great hitters of his time.
McGwire had a career wOBA of .406 and a career OPS+ of 162, 12th all-time.
In addition, his OPS of .982 was .241 above the league average during his time period.
During his five best seasons, McGwire also had an average OPS+ of 193, comparable to only the top five hitters on the list.
Still, McGwire gets penalized largely due to the fact 36 percent of his hits were home runs, during a time when home runs were at an all-time high.
Also, his career wOBA does not compare to the higher-ranked players that played in the same time period as him, mainly due to the lack of non-home-run hits.
26. Oscar Charleston, CF, Indianapolis ABC's/New York Lincoln Stars/Chicago American Giants/St. Louis Giants/Harrisburg Giants/Hilldale/Homestead Grays/Pittsburgh Crawfords/Toledo Crawfords/Indianapolis Crawfords/Philadelphia Stars/Brooklyn Brown Dodgers/Indianapolis Clowns (1915-1944)
Oscar Charleston was one of the greatest players in Negro League history and was one of two Negro Leaguers to make the list.
Although there aren’t many available stats to judge Charleston, the statistics that have been compiled so far show a .353 career batting average while playing from 1915-1944.
He also regularly finished among the league leaders in home runs throughout his Negro League career.
In 53 career exhibition games against all-white MLB teams, he had a batting average of .318 while hitting 11 homeruns.
Over his career, he drew comparisons to the likes of Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and Tris Speaker—impressive company to say the least.
(Photo credit: Negro Leagues Baseball Museum)
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